Art In the Times of Crisis

Greenwood musician and DJ Austin Landers shares stories about the beauty of community and the power of music in a challenging time.

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Discover Greenwood
May 4, 2020

Austin Landers, a local musician and radio DJ in Greenwood, has been playing music for about 15 years and hosted the Drive Home on Sunny 103.5FM for almost five years. 

“I've been in all types of bands and played almost every genre of music,” he says. “I currently play bass for Bad Weather States with my four best friends.” He also does some acoustic shows with “my brother from another mother,” Duane Terry, a favorite among guitar players in town. 

“Being part of the Greenwood music scene has truly been an honor and continues to be a joy of mine,” Austin says. “Being a local radio DJ also gives me the opportunity to collect and spread the good news of live music every week. which I share on my afternoon show daily.” 

In addition to sharing the information on air, he also sends it to the Index Journal and updates the community through daily Facebook posts, detailing each musician’s upcoming performances. 

“I want everyone to have the opportunity to find any information about the music in our town, especially the locals,” he says of his efforts. “We are all in this together.” 

The healthy Greenwood music scene is a source of pride for most locals. Austin considers Springfest and Uptown Live to be highlights of the local music scene. “Uptown Live has been a constant over the years. Everyone really enjoys them, and local artists have the chance to open for out-of-town bands,” he adds. “I think the mix gives everyone a good look at what we have—and what's out there in the world. Thank you, Uptown Greenwood and Ashby Stokes for that.” 

“The Festival of Discovery has been amazing,” Austin continues. “Although most of the bands have been from out of town each year, some of us locals get a chance to play in front of people from across the U.S. This is because of the massive number of people who flock to that event. A few times there has been a local stage that's been part of the event and that's neat, too!”

Austin gives tremendous credit to the bars, restaurants, venues, and businesses in this town that support local music and live music in general. “The music scene is great and is still growing because of more people playing and getting their talents out there,” he says. “Greenwood seems to have a large group of people who come out to shows and enjoy the live music, which makes what we do more fun and meaningful.”

Music in the Time of COVID-19

“COVID-19 has done quite the number on the world,” Austin says, “and musicians all over are feeling what many refer to as ‘The Struggle.’ But they have been strong enough to swim against the current. They have adapted to this climate with the use of modern technology, recording, and creativity.

“Greenwood musicians have banded together to do not only one but two excellent things to keep the music vibe alive.”

"Until Further Notice"

With the backing and planning of Clay Sprouse and T.J. Jenks, there have been live concerts every night for the last two and a half weeks starting at 7 p.m. on Facebook.

“All different styles and genres have performed,” Austin. “It is a beautiful thing to see everyone banding together to host these nightly streaming concerts.” Round One was over on April 19. Round 2 will start soon. “Hopefully I, along with Clay and TJ, can make Round 2 even better than the first by adding more folks from around here!” 

"The Day the Music Died" 

A second effort to support local musicians revolves around 20 local performers who have gotten together to record their own version of Don McLean's "American Pie." 

“Once again, local musicians have joined to do something unique and amazing,” he says. “Steven Cathcart and Austin Woodard have spent countless hours recording everyone to make this possible. It turned out sounding incredible. Hopefully, the visual part of this project is just as fun. It's truly been an honor to be part of this project as well. There are so many wonderfully, talented musicians in our small southern town.”

Austin hopes that people will continue to support the arts even when the pandemic is over. “Just remember, that when you were bored, disconnected, down, or stuck at home throughout this pandemic, that you turned to art. 

“The arts were there for you. Never forget that.” #supportlocalmusic #supportart #supportlove

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